If you were worried that The Elder Scrolls Online might end up being just another MMO that you’ve played a million times before, you can rest easy. The team at Zenimax Online Studios have created a game that feels unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, yet not so foreign that you will have to relearn everything from the ground up. And with the goal of creating an Elder Scrolls game that also happens to be an MMO, you’re going to feel right at home during your adventures in Tamriel.


In this article we’re going to look at how Zenimax looked to implement “strategic reactive combat,” but first we need to examine a few other parts of the game that would make top-notch combat worthless if not implemented well. Originally, Zenimax wanted the game to have a first-class first-person perspective and have it feel just like Skyrim, and have quest pickups work the exact same way as well . You talk to a random NPC and they give you the opportunity to do something for them. As of right now the game DOES have a first-person perspective, but it’s similar to the traditional first-person point-of-view you would see in any other MMO, which is less than ideal. During the summit, QGN staff members, as well as other attendees, repeatedly told Zenimax that they wanted a true, functional first-person view, and as the event went on, the company’s reception towards fully implementing that idea seemed to warm. Statements were made regarding the fact that putting in arms and weapons that are currently equipped would be an easy feature to add to the game and wouldn’t require any rebalancing of systems already in place. Quest pickups however, do feel very much as if you’re playing Skyrim, with no question marks or exclamation points telling you, “Hey! You have to come do my quest!” During the playthrough, many times upon discovering a cave or dungeon there would be an NPC outside who would give you a reason to go in, but you’re free to explore any cave you want to, whether you have a reason to go in or not.

So now that you understand that getting around the world will feel very familiar, not to mention unique in comparison to current MMOs, let’s get into how combat works. A little has already been divulged about synergy and the finesse system, but now we know a great deal more about how this is all going to work. But first things first, the user interface.

 

USER INTERFACE

Rather than having a mouse icon freely move around the screen, wherever you move your mouse you will have a reticle in the center of the screen, just like in Skyrim. You use this to look, aim, loot, and everything else for movement and interaction in the game. There IS a hotbar, but it is not designed to be used by clicking your mouse, but rather by using the number keys. The bar has boxes for hotkeys 1-6, but the primary attack design comes straight out of Skyrim. You use your left mouse button for your primary attack and your right button for either your block or secondary attack. You will be able to swap out skills and abilities in these boxes, however, and that’s done by clicking the CTRL key, which changes the reticle into your mouse pointer and allows you to click and drag skills in and out of the hotkey boxes. You will still, however, be able to move your character around, interact with the world, and see what’s going on, because the screen doesn’t dim or switch to a menu.

Once you’ve switched to the mouse pointer, you can right click on your icons in the hotbar and have it bring up all the different spells that you can use for a particular equipped weapon. You won’t have to search through menus to figure out what you want to use, it will all be right there in front of you.

As you loot gear throughout the game, you may want to see if there’s a better piece of equipment in your inventory. If you open up the character screen, you can hover over an item, right click on it, and easily swap it out (choosing from a list in a small menu that pops up) with another piece of gear in your inventory. Likewise, if you go into your inventory screen you can hover over an item, click the shift key, and it brings up a menu comparing it to your equipped gear. Zenimax was going for a simple approach, so the user interface is very streamlined and has that “barely there” look and feel of a traditional Elder Scrolls game.

One more note about the UI, the compass, which will be a circular tool on the bottom right of the screen, will guide you to quest objectives, important NPCs, and points of interest. You can swap active quests by pressing the “T” key, which cycles through and places an icon on your compass and map of where you need to head next. But Zenimax has focused on distraction-based gameplay, meaning they want you asking, “Which of these things should I do first,” just like in Skyrim, adding hours of endless roaming and wandering. The game was built with this philosophy in mind, and is being inserted wherever possible. As a side note, QGN staff members asked if it was a possibility to include the standard horizontal compass as is seen in recent Elder Scrolls games as an option, and the company said they’d look into it.

 

COMBAT MECHANICS IN ACTION

So once you have your weapon selected, as well as any spells or enchantments for that weapon, you can dive into combat, and start discovering how this game is different than anything else out there. During the summit, attendees were shown a demonstration where Creative Director Paul Sage and Lead Gameplay Director Nick Konkle entered a Dwemer ruin called “The Crypt of Hearts” to show how every public dungeon is its own encounter with its own set of rules. 100 groups could go through the same area and it could be played 100 different ways. Here’s how it went down.

Nick was a melee character and entered the room on his own at first. He engaged two Dwemer spiders, similar to what you’d see in Skyrim, and immediately upon seeing him the spiders moved to attack. There was no need for “pulling”, they just saw him and wanted to eat him. Once Nick chose his primary target and started to attack, the secondary spider pulled back and began casting an Area of Effect (AOE) for himself. Nick’s primary target then disengaged from him, turned around, went over to the AOE-casting spider and allowed that AOE to buff its armor and attack, meaning that once this finished he was now able to hit harder and for more damage. Nick let the spiders go through this whole routine rather than destroying them on-sight for demonstration purposes, just so people could see the thought process that exists within the computer-controlled enemies. Then Nick proceeded to beat the heck out of the spiders, only to be treated to an exploding spider that did additional damage after being killed, thanks to the AOE that he soaked up from the secondary target earlier.

This is where paul Sage entered the picture. He came into the room as a Mage and Nick took on an enemy that he normally would not be able to take down on his own, in this case it was a Necromancer. Paul used a lightning spell debuff, which on its own didn’t have any threat ability, but then Nick ran up to that mob and used his Synergy skill (we’ll get more into how Synergy works below), which in this case was called Conduit, and turned that non-threatening skill into a damaging lightning AOE attack, turning Nick into the subject of everyone else involved in the fight. So Paul was able to stay safely in the background while the two of them took down all the enemies.

 

THE FINESSE SYSTEM

More than any other MMO out there, Elder Scrolls Online rewards players for being involved in combat, not just playing a game. So this is where the Finesse System comes in. There is NO auto attack. Zenimax wants you to PLAY this game, not sit and mash buttons until an object on-screen goes away. You will be actively engaged and involved in this game at all times, at least, you will be if you want to progress your character as much as possible. Say, for example, an enemy rushes at you and you successfully block their attack. The enemy will be stunned and will allow you to go to town with any of your six hotkeys or charge up an attack (like a power attack in Skyrim) by holding down your left mouse button. The more successful you are at attacking, blocking, and dodging, the more finesse points you will build up. These points accrue on a skill that you’ve designated as your “finesse skill” next to your hotbar (every class has several different skills to swap in and out), and once you’ve built up enough of these points you can use that powerful ability. It then goes away and you have to build up the finesse points in order to use it again. Additionally, the more finesse points you build up, the more experience points you’ll gain when completing a fight, as well as opening up access to more chests to loot off fallen enemies. Something to note, if you get hit by an enemy you will lose finesse points, which encourages you to be more reactive to the situation and do your best to avoid getting hit.

Another exciting possibility that is out there, and while there is not a lot of information yet as it is still in an early alpha stage, there are currently kill-cams in the game. So look forward to potentially being able to follow your arrows right into the eyeballs of your enemy, if that’s your thing.

 

SYNERGY

Moving on to the next major component in combat, Synergy is an idea that Zenimax has worked hard to make an important and unique part of the game. Synergy skills become active when a player in your group casts a spell or wields an attack that meshes with whatever Synergy attack you have equipped at the time. When the ability to use that attack is enabled, a notification pops up on your screen, and if you hit the “X” key, it will use that attack to do crippling, extra damage to the mob that you couldn’t do on your own. Zenimax wants players to play together, and this is one incentive for doing so.

Did you notice I said “Zenimax wants players to “play” together, “not “group” together? As you travel the world and come into contact with other players who are in the same area or doing the same quests as you – this “public dungeon” idea – you naturally begin working together, sharing objectives, loot, and enemies, and all that’s required is to be within proximity of one another. The game has a lot of public dungeons, and the way it’s set up, you won’t have to sit around waiting for enemies to respawn. Just work together with whoever else is in there to take down the enemies, and you’ll all get credit for it. Plus, you’ll get to use those cool synergy attacks that are not available otherwise. That being said, they did mention that they are looking into adding a “Looking for Group” feature to help people who just want to hook up with other players and explore the game together, side-by-side. It’s not currently in the game, but QGN staff members were told by Paul Sage “..we have one ‘specced’ out.”

It’s important to note that computer-controlled enemies are very similar to player-controlled characters, meaning they have a set of skills to draw from and can also work in synergy with each other, just like players can. In a demonstration at the summit, an example was shown where melee warrior mobs dropped oil slicks and their mage companions lit the oil on fire with a spell, causing massive AOE damage. Synergy.

AM I A TANK, OR WHAT?

In terms of getting locked into specific combat roles, that will be a thing of the past with this game. Zenimax has designed ESO so that at any time you can change your role by swapping out weapon skills. The skills you have equipped on your weapon will determine if you are a healer, tank, or DPS-type of player, or even a mixture of all three of those. The more you mix it up, the more variety and unique gameplay you’ll create for yourself, which brings back (parent company) Bethesda’s overall goal with Skyrim, “play the world the way you want to play it.” If anything, the game encourages you to NOT stick to a specific role, and in fact, when asked about character progression, Konkle said he expects that towards the end of the game, players will discover they’ve made their character and it’s not anything like what they started out with. Potentially, the character will be customized to fit the player’s preferences as the game progressed, not staying within traditional roles or styles.

In regards to character progression, characters level up by gaining experience and killing mobs, as well as by raising proficiency with used weapons. Specifically speaking, when you use a weapon it will increase from level 1, to 2, to 3, and so on, separate from your character’s level. So your character could be level 6, but your one-handed sword skill might be level 4, and your two-handed sword skill might be level 2. As you gain levels with weapon types, you gain a new skill, which will be mapped to your left or right mouse button. In addition, once that weapon type reaches level 4, it branches off, giving players the chance to make that skill much more specialized. These specializations will all lean themselves towards either damage, healing, or threat generation-type of bonuses, but remember, you’re not locked into this style of play. At any point you can switch up your weapons and skills and change from a character who has predominantly been a healer and switch to a DPS. This has been made possible by Zenimax allowing any character to use any weapon at any time. In short, there are no skill trees that lock you into a certain play style. You are free to play any way you want.

Also worthwhile to note, while the user interface is not cluttered, there IS an extra icon next to your hotbar set aside for consumable items (like health potions) for quick access during combat by pressing the “R” key.

 

CONCLUSION

Zenimax has many more surprises for us in the coming months, but we’ve now seen the direction that they’re taking this game. The combat created for this MMO looks to be fresh and will push boundaries. Traditional MMO players may not be initially comfortable with the setup, but Zenimax is banking on players wanting a more interactive and strategic approach to combat. If you like the sound of being good at dodging or blocking, and want to be rewarded for your efforts, this is the game for you. That said, this is still an Elder Scrolls game, so everything is still your choice. You can play the world the way you want to, and that includes combat. Elder Scrolls fans who are skeptical about this game working in an MMO setting should feel encouraged by what we’ve seen so far. Zenimax has taken great measures to make this one of the best Elder Scrolls games of all time, and it just happens to also be one of the most involved and interactive MMOs ever created.

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Avatar of Brian Armstrong
Brian covers gaming news for the Quest Gaming Network. You can follow him on Twitter at silentfury007, where he also occasionally rambles about music.

73 Responses to “Finesse, Synergy, and You: How It All Fits Together in Elder Scrolls Online” Subscribe

  1. TheClassyPython October 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Before reading this article, I admit, I wasn’t very interested in the game. Now however, after reading the article, my interest is piqued. I very much like the idea of a more engaging combat system, as that is a major turn-off for me in regards to other MMO’s. I can safely say that Elder Scrolls Online is now on my radar.

    • Evarwyn October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm #
      Avatar of Evarwyn

      We were the same way when the announcement was first made in the spring. Since then, from all we’ve learned, this is the one game we can’t wait for

      • Treita February 9, 2013 at 2:08 am #

        “in the coming months” is one thing people are going to have to keep in mind. They’re still in Alpha testing, then closed beta segments, then open beta before the game is released. We all just have to be patient.
        That being said, I was stoked when my wife found this game after a discussion of ours wishing for a multiplayer version of Skyrim. After nearly 8 years in World of Warcraft, this is looking to be everything every other MMO couldn’t be.

  2. Matt October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    I’m really looking forward to this game, and was excited to see all this coverage from y’all. I have to say, I suspected that you guys might be doing something like this eventually; you’re just that awesome! Thanks!

    So, I’m curious about finesse. It seems that it was intended to encourage combat strategy, forcing you to think both defensively and offensively, and providing a bonus for succeeding at both. However, it has a little bit of a Fable feel to it, and I have to say that I hated the fact that experience gained in Fable depended so heavily on so totally dominating the enemy. I also worry that classes for whom blocking/stunning/etc is easier will level disproportionately quickly. I’d like to believe that they have designed classes to account for this, and I hope they did, because I would not want to be forced into using a shield just to get finesse (in Fable, it was actually so bad that there was a specific skill combination that was, hands down, the best way to level because it built up the experience bonuses in the easiest way). I don’t know if you can comment on this; if not, we’ll find out eventually.

    • Nick ellsworth October 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      This seems pretty awesome. I’m playing rift and love the graphics and environment but like they were saying it gets a little old just hitting the attack button and selecting this ability and so on. Its interesting how TESO is taking the cross class combo ability from DA2 now calling they call it synergy. Then bioware is taking there open world idea for DA3. I’m thinking these 2 games coming out are gonna be simply Amazing and groundbreaking.

    • Joseph Bradford October 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm #
      Avatar of Joseph Bradford

      I think one thing to remember is that the game has designed so all classes can use any weapons, armor, etc. So this makes you think that they have accounted for this type of discrepancy. Having only the ability to play two classes, both of which were more “melee” designed, it’s hard to say without more playthrough experience and more information on the additional classes they are putting into the game. So far we know of the Templar and the Dragonknight, but a few were mentioned in our interview with Matt Firor: The Sorcerer, The Warden and The Nightblade. Once we have more information regarding this we will definitely be sure to keep you all informed!

    • Adam November 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      They have stated in previous announcements that similar to the Elder Scrolls III, IV, and V, you are able to block with any type of weapon. They have also stated that to help balance the stunning out every type of character is able to break stun at a cost of stamina. Stamina seems to be the ultimate balancing factor that is not in most MMOs. Being able to decide whether you use this stamina to block, or break a stun now or later and to have those same advantages on the opposing side. This means that maybe a thief might be good at stunning or a warrior better at blocking, but ultimately they can all balance out.

      • Jim February 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

        What about dual wielders? They couldn’t block.

        • Dave March 6, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

          Of course they can. What’s tricky when dual-wielding is attacking with both weapons at the same time :) The main advantage to dual wielding is that your opponent is not able to tell from moment to moment whether any particular hand will block or attack, but it also requires a high degree of ambidexterity.

  3. Alexandria October 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    I’ll admit the game looks to to be shaping up great. Although I think its time in the spotlight that is the MMO market may be small but brief people need to realise that a game trend like that of MMO’s is allways messured by the success of the game before it what that product did for the fanbase its pro’s and cons are etc. also with the era of subscription fee’s dieing out we need to ask our self’s can companys workround this lack of sub fee’s the answer to this is 8/10 no they can’t. I feel such a company like zanimax are the type of company to fling a subscription fee our way.

    • Korveas December 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      You know how inaccurate your statements were here?
      a spotlight on the MMO market of which is small? in what meaning player base is around 20 – 25 million MMORPG players out there (across all games), or the amount of companies making them? more then a stick can be shook at, this isn’t a small market.
      this is such a company to fling a subscription fee our way. personally i prefer it, you know the difference between a sub game, non-sub, and hybrid sub games are? have you played the free or hybrid free games out there? i have and there is a reason why i had to keep going back to WoW, and i am bored to tears with that game.

  4. Ugur ince November 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I just one who exciting found himself in a new journey in mystic lands. I am very interesting about The elder scroll. Because it has a well story like “Forgotten Realms, Dragon Lance, Conan, Warcraft, Diablo etc.” Now I want to begin a new life when I am in daily off.

    I have a FRP/RPG style like choice ab Archer or a Half magic with one handed sword or like play summoner (Necromancer) So, I played and did a lot of quest in Skyrim. I like it too much and it is like my style and I had played Morrowind and Oblivion but I didn’t finish. Whatever..

    I just want to play in Alpha or Beta when you are ready to open and give me a work change there look like find bugs, stupid things which is not correct for playing. I would gladly ready to report every problem things will find. I just want to this game have very very perfect. It has to new experience and new style that I never played before.

    Best regards

    • Rokurou December 8, 2012 at 1:23 am #

      You have bad English.

      • Mahlerion February 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

        I bet his English is a LOT better than the second language you don’t speak!

  5. Korv January 22, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    When I first heard about this game, the Elder Scrolls fan in me groaned. I thought, “No, please don’t let them ruin the ES franchise by making a cookie-cutter MMO with some ES iconography.” After reading this post, and others, I am getting more and more excited that my first judgment could very well have been wrong. However, the skeptic in me is holding off because many game devs have made promises that went unfulfilled. Here’s hoping that the guys at ZeniMax break that tradition!

    • Bexx January 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Dude! I’m sure all ES fans felt that way. I sure did. ES is amazing though, I doubt they will let us down! Keep following, I wouldn’t hold off on it if I were you. The combat seems like they kept it in traditional ES style so cookie-cutter? No way(:

    • Drannath February 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

      Keep in mind that Matt Firor was one of the lead dev’s for Dark Age of Camelot, and that was far from a cookie cutter MMO. More games should of taken a page from the old Mythic developers and done a three faction game ages ago.

  6. Evgeniy January 23, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    From what I have read for the last 3 to 4 hours reading comments and every other thing I find 3 things came up:
    1st: This game will either break the world record of wow having lived forever now(just saying). Or Die of a painful death and turn into a like all MMOs the boring old grind for month for one thing type.
    2nd: Might have started the change in most newer games were people turn away from button smashing to a lot more active game play and not like Aion and WOW were you press alt, shift, ctrl all day to the “Oh should I use this or this now” type of game.(my hopes)
    3rd: Is the time when people find a way to have everyone play on a single server world wide not like the insane lag maniac games were one town you die of lag of miss the click of potion because your game went and froze or worse.
    So what I’m saying is if this game flourishes it will turn the whole MMO on a whole new level of interest while making the worlds leading game to be created after something like packman witch just people will love for life and eturnity. Hope this starts a long discussion on the subject of what this game going to do and acomplish.

    • swagucci January 26, 2013 at 1:00 am #

      OR… it can do well but not as well as wow since its a possibility.
      Dont see why people have to act like every new mmo to come out either beats wow or is a failure… so annoying.

      • Evgeniy January 31, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

        I’m not saying if it beets WOW im saying it wont be like button smashing like wow is

  7. Daylen February 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    I just hope that this is going to be an “Elder Scrolls game”, and I won’t be sure of that till I play in the beta, IF I get in the beta.
    The only way this game will be a SUB success is wonderful game play it’s just that simple. From all the things I have seen so far is looks like a 3rd person elder scrolls MMO style and to be honest that’s great to me. Specially with an end game concept to it where you run dungeons and pvp against other players. The only thing is they have to focus 90% of their efforts on the end game itself, our American made games we level up within the first week or hardcore players 1-3 days. So all we end up doing it strictly the end game content. As long as the end game is fun and repeatable without getting boring after 2 weeks like all the new MMO’s coming out it’ll be successful. I pray that this one last company has the ability to do so, but every other one has proven me wrong. Just my opinion on things. Good luck to Zanimax.

  8. Yamibi February 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Sounds perfect. It’s like taken from my dreams. Action pumped, smart combat. I especially like sound ot synergy mechanics. I like to say that what TES lack to be perfect is Multi… now you want to give us that. I’m really looking forward to TES Online.

  9. Magosian February 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    I, like other comments here, am anxiously awaiting this game. This article gives plenty of reasons why ESO could be the next big thing. Let me tell you about one thing this article didn’t cover, however.

    PVP. Specifically, they’re adopting a massive-pvp model much like that of DAoC (3 realms/factions competing for control in a frontier-like territory). This was successful for several years and is very promising. Rumor has it they are also adding a purge-like ability for ALL players (at the cost of stamina) which will basically serve as an anti-crowd-control mechanism, much like explosion pouches of UO or the “purge” realm rank ability from DAoC. This alone, this one simple tool, goes so far beyond what most MMOs today offer in terms of PvP and true player control. I can’t put into words just how important and exciting this is….! :)

  10. Artur February 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    I`m Interested this game will be Free to Play or like all MMORPG Online games we need to pay for it ? Cuz new Word Of Warcraft made a free scheme for people :)

    • Zer0megaXX February 10, 2013 at 2:02 am #

      Not all MMO’s are sub based, just alot of the overhyped ones like maplestory, and WoW, myself i perfer Mabinogi, a f2p mmo with a microtransaction system but even free players get access to all the gear same caps, only difference is lack of inventory extension, but thats solved through pets. Also I rember saying ESO would be F2P with a microtransaction system

  11. Arosonom February 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    I have one thing I would like to add, and I hope this gets seen.

    Surely you’re going to give us an option to bind more skills to “7″-”=” keys; or have some way to hit alt to access a different hotbar.

    This was one of the main reasons I stopped playing Guild Wars 2. “Wooh, I have a limited hotbar that gives me access to only 10 skills.” Aaaand that’s how it was THE WHOLE GAME.

    Right now (waiting for beta) I’m playing Tera online; and they have the similar “action based” combat with the cursor in the middle of the screen and you aim it to fire spells and swing your weapons. HOWEVER; They give you enough hotbar space to use M1-M(x) “F1″ – “F12″ as well as “1″ – “=”.

    That’s 24 spells/abilities/items!!

    Even in skyrim it slightly annoys me. Example:
    1) Ebon Sword
    2) Fire Bolt
    3) Ice Spike
    4) Lightning Bolt
    5) Oakflesh
    6) Lesser Ward
    7) Raise Zombie
    8) Bound Bow

    If I want to use anything else; I have to go into the menu *mid battle* and pop a few potions equip stuff for special purposes. THEN unpause and use them; to only go back 5 seconds later and equip DIFFERENT stuff.

    Granted; your adding a could extra things and this is just a description, so I don’t know EXACTLY what you’re talking about but I hope this won’t be a similar problem; you’re class system seems amazing, lore is OBVIOUSLY going to be tight, and it LOOKS good. I just hope we won’t be limited to a mere 8 skills/items the whole game. =\

    Aaand that’s all I have to say.

    • Jim February 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      It’ll be a bit different than GW2 from what I understand. In that game if you equipped a sword in your primary you had 3 different skills that were set and could never be switched out without switching weapons. In this game if you equip a sword in your primary you have access to a multitude of different abilities as you level. You only have 5 hot keys though, so you select the skills you absolutely need for the area your in. Which is awesome.

      • Laetitian February 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        Are you kidding me, Jim? It is drastically sad!

        Do they genuinely try to make the game interesting, leading away from button mashing, auto-hitting, and involve people in tactical teamplay, and attempt to do so by *reducing* the actual actions one can take?
        The idea behind the switching classes is obvious, but why reduce the amount of *aldready learned* faculties that players can actually utilise?!

        I really do hope, section is simply being confused, and that actually there *are* the 30-40 different spells that healers can effect the battlefront with, and that the 40 combos, and skills, swordsmen, and knights can use to approach their enemies smartly.

    • Rant February 9, 2013 at 5:25 am #

      Of course having a limited hotbar would also encourage group play and allow the players to feel like individuals, unlike any other player, who can provide a vital role for the team that nobody else has access to. I find that idea much more appealing than WoW’s “Everyone can heal, Crowd Control, DPS, Tank, as long as you have enough hot keys plastered to your window.”

    • Ashley February 10, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      from what i have got out of every thing so far your hot key bars will be special moves so if u are using a sword your attacking with the left mouse klick and then you hit hot key 2 and do a big swing or a special jump and hit the monster??? i think what you are saying sounds betta becaouse i dont realy want it like guild wars 2 where you have 1 off hand weapon and 1 on hand weapon???

    • MattW February 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      I really hope they don’t listen to your comment. No offense, but this whole game is based on the minimal UI & immersive game-play where you have to choose your skills, not have all 400 available like wow.

      It forces you to use strategy instead of hitting hot key number 27A.

      My two cents

  12. Chris February 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    I think if the combat style of elder Scrolls online is any thing like that of skyrim the game should be fine they just need to tweek the way u use potions and toggle weapons.

  13. Ondřej February 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    I´m a big pesimist about “SYNERGY”, it is not defenetly unquie, it was here thousnd times before and thousand times before it was either boring, didnt work or was completly stupid. Also this makes me think the game will be icretibly easy – six buttons, and one of them will be bound to be repeatebly pressed for “awesome synergy” without any effort. I dont say it cant work, I say I never played game where it would actually both work and was fun. If it all work, it will defenetly make game shine and be top-seller.

  14. kwil February 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    I wonder if it is possible for this game to change up the mechanics of pvp – right now players are like ghosts in that they can stack up on top of each other – you can have two full raids in a small room that has no right to hold that many. I think implementing something like solid state chars (in pvp at least) would be interesting, means you actually have to coordinate for positioning in a fight, attackers would have to break through a tank wall to get to the healers and casters etc… would give a whole new realistic dynamic to the game. I know there would be lots of bugs to get through and i know nothing of programming, so i dont even know the feasibility of implementing this. Just a thought though.

    • Yarvin Jenkins February 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      Kwil, that sounds awesome. Only for pvp of course, because loading on top of another player and being ‘stuck’ would be terrible. With the free action play style, implementing player collision to help the tanks hold the line as the squishy dps attack in safety would create a more realistic pvp line in battle.

  15. Mudge February 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Personally when all is said and done and the game comes out I hope it is a Subscription game for a long while.
    I understand the the $$ is the all powerful thing that companies look to but I have been doing MMOs and testing a long while.. Games are great in the testing stage and the Subscription stages… then they go Free-to-play ..
    I enjoy hundreds of new people to game with like everyone else.. but F2P often if not always brings in am element of gamers who fail to grasp the game for what it is …
    You can often tell these people as they are often preceeded by “This game sucks” .. “Its not as good as WoW”
    Personally I’m a roleplayer and I hope the companies can remember this when making their game..
    Ie the ability to walk .. sit in seats.. do emotes and enjoy the world as any of the AI is supposed to be … until those pesky PC’s come along…

  16. nathan February 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    What I am extremely interested in is the archery. I love the fact in Skyrim i could aim and shoot the bow and arrow myself and not an auto-attack that missed half the time. there just aren’t enough games out there that you have this type of control.

  17. Megsimple February 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    I can hardly wait for this to become active online.. I play age of conan and find it still lacks in areas.. looking forward for this game!

  18. Andy February 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Sounds pretty awesome! However, I hope they put true first person back in the game. It was in the pre alpha testing, there is no reason to take it out. Without the first person option the reticle is much less useful, and it is not immersive if you’re constantly staring at yourself. 1st person is the most immersive experience and I am sick and tired of playing MMORPGs in 3rd person, I am also a huge TES fan and if they don’t allow players to play in true first person they will be alienating many TES fans.

    • Cass February 8, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      Andy I actually love third person. I like seeing my character and whatever cool gear I have on them. I used to play that way all the time until Skyrim when your character is off to the side. That kinda bugs me during combat. I usually switch to first when I am exploring caves or searching for something though.
      I agree with you that it should be an option for those that prefer to play that way. Maybe they are focusing on group play more than soloers and you need to see more than just what is directly in front of you.
      I know it is an MMO but I hope they do not forget about soloers and people that are here because it is an Elder Scrolls game. Not because it is an MMO. It seems like they are trying really hard to cater to everyone.

      • Ashley February 10, 2013 at 9:18 am #

        i dont think they can take first person out of a elder scro9lls game itll change so much i dont no if any one else tried using a bow or magic in skyrim in 3rd person but it sucked and if they take the ability to aim your self out it wont be elder scrolls so i think 1st person is 100% going to be in the game

  19. Cass February 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    It seems they really want to keep it an Elder Scrolls game and not just another MMO. I love everything I have read in this article. I started playing back in Morrowind. When I first heard this mmo was really happening, I was worried they were ruining one of my favorite games. Actually, I was sure of it. Now, every day that goes by, I am more and more excited to play it.
    Now my only concern is how long are they going to keep it this way before they let angry, ungrateful thirteen year olds (who just want the fastest way to reach end game or get easy loot) redesign the game for them?
    Please don’t let that happen! I really am excited about experiencing the feel of the game especially after reading this. I hope they keep it this way for a while. It always hurts when mmos drop something I really like just because lazy people don’t want to actually play the game.
    I have to agree with Mudge. I am all for a subscription game to weed out a lot of the “this game sux”. Just look at all the people whining for beta. All people want is free game time. Or make it free to play with an optional subscription that offers rewards. One being that the whole shard thing filters out all the scabs so we never have to see them. Haha

  20. TheWiredWorld February 9, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    I just have one big question: I wonder how PLAYER driven the game will actually be, or whether it will just be another theme park….again. Hearing about how the compass will guide you to objectives was a super turn off – as well as quest givers will be conveniently placed in front of world mini-dungeons. That was part of the mystery of the solo games was coming to some random cave on your own and knowing that, in some way, there is a quest somewhere out there that gives this cave importance – but it was reversible as to what could give you the quest,an item in the cave, or the quest giver to go give you the item (this way, exploring and looting became a job!).

    And hearing about how they CONSTANTLY compare it to Skyrim is scary as well, as that game was so utterly watered down, the last thing I want to pay for to play in an MMO is a game that is so trivial, the only fear I ever have of dying is in PvP – in which I will die way too much and way too fast due to imbalance and poor design.

    Still waiting and seeing though.

  21. Dany February 9, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    Hi,
    I have one wider question.

    It’s about basic PvP and BALANCE in PvP

    Do you thinking about cleanly basic PvP: (1v1/duels/arenas etc.)?

    For ex. in future: “Rated Arena in Imperial City etc.” We know from(TES:oblivion). Where players can be join and fihght between themselves?

    Balanced PvP is very problematic, but ESO fight system can be unique. Mega-battles with hundreds/thousands players are very popular, are “everywhere”. But popular balanced basic PvP isn’t.

    It is Easy – it is Adrenalin:
    Players requires compare between themselves

    This is a new chance too create a next social connection, something as: “ESO STREAM” (arena spectrators, video uploader/creator etc.)
    Players can watch and study fight with top players between themselves in RATED arenas in real-time or from records.
    More possibilities = more players = more chances survive between competitors.

    thanks

  22. Rant February 9, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    I still want to have to aim, it won’t be at all engaging as a mage or archer if my spell or arrow simply seeks out and traces whatever enemy was in my reticule at the time. If the enemy sidesteps, by all means, my arrow should miss, and i should have to lead my target if i want a clean shot.

    Friendly fire might not be the greatest idea though. Never a fan of blowing up my companions.

  23. Zoltán Fekete February 9, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    I’m also very intersted about the game. I love Elder Scroll games. As I read more article, I’m getting more exciting.

    I have just one fear about the game, the pricing system. I don’t like to pay month to month for play, like the WoW. Well I can’t pay for a game every month.

    I’m looking for a solution like in GW2. Sell the game more expensive but forgot timecard :)

  24. Paul February 9, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    Love the interactive gameplay, unlike the auto attacks from your usual MMO which use to piss me off

  25. Paul February 9, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    I am however a bit skittish about the fact that you can just change your role whenever you want to, it creates an atmosphere of not achieving what you work for, for instance training to be a tank and building your character that way, and then being able to just swap to dps defeats the role purpose a bit, I’ve always enjoyed progressing in one role and always being the man for whatever I chose…

  26. Akrias February 9, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    Just hoping it will we “once buyed, play forever” like Guild Wars 2.

  27. Paul G. February 9, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    I’m rather impressed with your description of the gameplay overall. In fact, I love the description of the finesse system, and particularly love synergy. My main concern, however, is that this combat system might be too complex for a lot of MMO players. As a veteran of WoW, ToR, Asheron’s Call, and a few others, I’ve found that MMO players can be ookin’ dumb.

    That said, I have a question: when the – as I’ve heard them referred to – ‘dumb nubs’ complain about something being ‘too hard,’ how will Zenimax respond? Tell them to get better at it? Add a new and lower difficulty setting? Or will they follow Blizzard’s pattern and dumb it down, making it less fun for the people who like using their brain during a fight?

    P.S. There should be a ‘distract/backstab’ synergy mechanic where player A taunts, granting player B a chance to get behind and do a massive bonus hit. :D

    I’m also concerned with the fact that, according to this, your skills appear to be linked with your weapons.
    1) does that mean that if you upgrade a weapon to a weapon of the same type, you have to start over? Or are your skills linked to that weapon type?
    2) Does this refer only to active skills, or passive ones (presuming there are any) as well.
    3) Doesn’t that sound like GW2′s combat system?
    4) What else, besides the weapon(s) you’ve got in hand at the moment, helps define your character’s unique role and such?

    • Levithian Jenkins February 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      I must say I am quite excited about this, but you are right about there being a lot of ‘dumb nubs’ in the MMO franchise, actually in life as a whole.

      It will be interesting to see how TESO deals with this, I really hope thye don’t go and make so that the game requires no brains at all. -I’m looking at you WoW!!!- Leveled from level 84-85 asleep, woke up thinking I dreamt it all, and I actually did it! Hahaha…

      Anyway I know CCP managed to have a built in Noob filter by making the game have a HUGE learning cliff (Gawd how I love you EVE Online <3) but we will have to see, I am also hoping for a GW2 payment style, either that or like EVE Online, pay your subscription and get the game and all expansions for free! (EVE Online is on it's what, 16th expansion?)

      Another thing is the archery, I really hope they don't ballz it up :S, as far as your question about how the skills are associated with your weapons, maybe they will have certain classed abilities, I swear I read something about your first three abilities and related to your weapon, I will have to recheck that, so basically, you can't shoot some ranged arrow to someones knee with your sword :)

      Last thing, I was hoping for the Synergy abilities to be slightly more complex and dynamic, simply pressing X do to A LOT of damage sounds way to easy. Looking forward to that though, I also like how they have made so that you get credit for helping to kill a mob, even if the person is not in your "party", anyway that's it for my wall of text!!!

  28. Tesq February 9, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    the game seems a copy and paste from gw2 idead, sharing loot etc, and is not so bad cos i like this part of game, my only warning go on classes system, will i able to make a TANK a healer or dps or will finish like in gw2 that any classes cannot do anything if not make dps? usualy i build tank character cos i like stay in first line and take attention in rvr,
    i hope that it will be possible build a tank that will be able to fight for 1 min 30 sec with no heal even if alone or this game will become same as gw2, no strategy, no guild work just zerg.

    • Ash February 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      I’ve been seeing comments like these since GW2 came out and I really can’t explain what’s wrong with people like you if not the lack of skill and/or intelligence. I’m not trying to insult you, but to say that GW2 requires no strategy or teamwork is simply wrong and shortsighted. Games with combat mechanics like the one in GW2 is precisely where strategy and teamwork are at it’s finest. Choosing right skills and weapons in order to survive the fight, brainstorming with your fellow teammates in order to decide on who’s doing what, which combos will help you the most, will you fight with melee or ranged weapons, being on the constant move during the fight and dodging, that is where you really see who has skill and who has a big mouth. Yes, you can zerg the dungeon (lower level ones at least), but if you don’t see any other way, I’m sorry, but you are not very bright or skilled.
      I hope ESO will use the same mechanics, as well as B2P policy. The time of subscription MMO-s has come and gone. WoW will linger for a few more years and then be gone like every other over a decade old game (EVE is not a game, it’s a university course. Yes, it will be around for a while because of its superior subscription policy, its sandbox universe and loyal but completely bonkers community). People are starting to realize that subscriptions are a robbery for the most part. They don’t have the money to pay every month for a game, and if they do, they have little or no time to play it (barring complete lack of social life).

      • Levithian Jenkins February 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

        EVE Online <3

        IS

        AMAZING…

        Feel free to send me a mail ingame, same name that I am using to post this, and when I renew my subscription (My PC broke) I will reply, always good to hear from other EVE players :D

        *Mostly because EVE Players arn't half-wits, haha!

  29. Dede February 9, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Great article, all translated to Turkish and will be shared with our Elder Scrolls Turkish Community, thanks.

  30. LW/Obe February 9, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    They’re definitely revving up the excitement with the synergy skills and such. It seems the best part with this, which is different from wow and other online games, is they’re making characters that you can get lost in and adapt and grow with them.

    Still a lot of questions though. How will the world battle happen? Will it be 3 groups with their own sections fighting for the center or will it be like shattered galaxy’s sections where you fight for sections and the stories and such change accordingly, will it be free roaming everywhere and try not to die, etc..? With forging and smithing will there be spell and skill forging and smithing as well as weapons to make the game more diverse and unique? So many more…

    However, I will say that with synergy abilities it’ll make diverse guilds very fun and useful since they could have synergy runs, battles and tests. Om nom nom nom!

  31. Fenyofater February 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    As long as I remember, MMO is slightly less obsessed with graphics, but straightly go for killing. No matter how we slice and dice it, how we buff skills and stats, there is a boundary that MMO rarely tries to push and that is the story that we build around our character. Of course, we could not solve problems like in Skyrim (a few different ways at a time including non lethal), because that is impossible work… or is there a cheat for developers to tudn MMO from hack and slash back to RPG? Is there? How?

  32. Demonhunter February 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    I’m really looking forward to this game, if the combat system is enjoyable as they describe it to be in an MMO environment I would care less about graphics and character animation. I know the combat system since its going to be very similar to Skyrim, and I played Skyrim and enjoyed it a whole bunch. But implementing this kind of system in a PvP setting would be interesting to see and experience. Also, they say there is going to be classes to choose from, so does this mean that every class is going to have a class skill that no other class can get? I hope so, or else every class would look alike in an already free for all leveling system. Also, what about cool-downs on drinking potions or power attacks by pressing and holding down the mouse button that uses more stamina etc.. Do we get to choose to invest on stamina/magicka/health after we level?

  33. justin wilson February 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Still doesn’t answer the obvious question: Will people have to aim their direct damage spells at enemies, such as a single fireball, a la skyrim, etc., or is it the same boring heat-sinking missile mentality MMOs lazily use?

  34. Kal February 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Excellent writeup man! I’m am very excited about this game.

  35. OCJOE February 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    I recently deleted my WoW toons, cancelled my subscription, changed my email, mashed keys to change the password then cancelled the email account. Easier than sending snail mail to France. They can pay to store a dead database record for all I care. I’m so sick of all the MMOs saying they are doing something great to only get some other part of it tragically wrong. Dear God I hope Zenimax gets it right. I want to be like “Shut up and take my money!” 3 months into it, hopefully longer.

    This feels like the Elder Scrolls franchise took a bus to LA to become an actor. I hope they don’t end up waiting tables like most MMOs do.

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  41. James January 13, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Great article and well researched! You combined a lot of important points on Synergy and Finesse which is not immediately obvious in the official gameplay videos. I found that Impale and Shackle were the ones I experienced the most in Beta.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Hands-on previews for The Elder Scrolls Online | MensaDad News - October 22, 2012

    [...] Finesse, Synergy, and You: How It All Fits Together in Elder Scrolls Online [...]

  2. Hands-on previews for The Elder Scrolls Online (Updated) | Bethesda Blog - October 23, 2012

    [...] Finesse, Synergy, and You: How It All Fits Together in Elder Scrolls Online [...]

  3. 10 Reasons Why The Elder Scrolls Online Will Rule 2013 | The Elder Scrolls Off The Record I An Elder Scrolls Online Podcast - January 21, 2013

    [...] when news of The Elder Scrolls Online gameplay broke, I wrote an article on how combat would work. Not much has changed in terms of what we know, but it bears repeating that [...]

  4. Sinergia, Finesse e você: Como tudo isso se encaixa em Elder Scrolls Online « ESO Brasil - February 9, 2013

    [...] Texto Original: Elder Scrolls of the Record [...]

  5. TESO: El Finesse, la Synergy, y tu: Como encaja todo | Zona MMORPG - February 10, 2013

    [...] Fuente | http://elderscrollsotr.mymiddleearth…olls-online-3/ [...]

  6. ESO Weekly - Beta, Enemy AI, Synergy, and 1st-Person Update » ShoddyCast - February 15, 2013

    [...] Elder Scrolls Off the Record Article [...]

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